You know how it often works. Just before you leave on an appointment to list a home, a client calls. Talking with the client means you’ll be late for your appointment – what do you do?
You have the floor and a walk in client is sitting at your desk when the secretary slips you a note that asks you to call your daughter’s school immediately. How do you handle this?
The mortgage broker who promised to call you “in the morning” with the decision about a client’s financing doesn’t call until the next day. Meanwhile you’ve had to field three calls from the impatient home buyers.
The truth is, time management often seems like a total oxymoron in the real estate business!
Time management tips that work in real estate
Fortunately, although your time will always be subject to interruptions and delays from other people, there are some ways you can manage your time more effectively.
First, track your time
The first step in managing your time is to find out exactly how you’re spending it. Tracking your time closely for a week or two will often surface time leaks you didn’t realize were there.
You can track your time on the back of an envelope, a 3 x 5 card or using a free time tracking tool and app like Toggl.
Once you’ve got a record of how you’re spending your time you can see ways to eliminate some things.
Next, decide what NOT to do
Look at your time tracking record with an eye toward what you can eliminate. For example:
- Spend several hours every night watching TV? It may make sense to cut that time down to an hour or less so you get more and better sleep.
- Always stop at the coffee shop to read the paper for an hour? It might make better sense to get your coffee and paper to go and bring them to the office. Better yet, get a good coffee maker for the office and you’ll save both time and money.
Eliminating time wasters can free up an amazing amount of time in many cases.
Create a daily to do list
Creating a to do list every workday will help you keep track of what you must get done, including appointments, showings and what-have-you.
Free programs like Google’s calendar with tasks or Todoist.com can help you keep organized on both your computer and smart phone. There are also computerized to do list specially for real estate, but they usually cost. Try the free solutions first so you find out what works for you.
Make use of time snippets
Time snippets are those periods of time that we normally waste – waiting for a meeting to begin, standing in line, while on hold – that sort of thing. With your to do list handy you can often find ways to get real work done in those periods – send a card, work on or finish some paperwork, update your to do list, etc. etc.
Get in the habit of using time snippets and you’ll discover you’re getting way more done than you used to.
Read about time management
There are all sorts of resources out there that will help you manage your time. If you spend even 30 minutes a month reading about time management you’re bound to gain some useful tips. Here are a few blogs I like. You can also Google time management for real estate agents and you’ll find many more:
The Essential Time-Saving Guide for Busy People – I love Leo Babauta’s take on life and he seems to write great stuff that’s helpful for anyone.
Field Guide to Time Management for Real Estate Professionals – Written especially for real estate agents, with real understanding.
Productive Writers – John Soares is one of the most productive people I know. Obviously, not everything will apply to real estate, but much of it will.
Got a favorite time management tip you’d like to share with us? Tell us about it in comments.